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No shame to European defeat

Rob Hodgetts | 02:22 UK time, Monday, 22 September 2008

It was fun while it lasted. But Europe's attempt to win a fourth straight Ryder Cup came up short because they faced a US team playing with the freedom that so often goes with underdog status.

And because astute US captain Paul Azinger inspired a new crop of young American stars to energise both the crowd and their more illustrious team-mates.

Players like Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Boo Weekley and JB Holmes embraced the stage and took with them the older guard of Phil Mickelson, Kenny Perry, Justin Leonard and Jim Furyk.

"The young guys infused amazing energy into the crowd and also into the team,and won probably the majority of the points on this team," said Furyk.

Europe came second because on a dramatic final day, the breaks went the other way.


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Captain Nick Faldo's side were always on the back foot after going three points behind on "USA" Friday. And despite shaving a point off the deficit on Saturday to go into the singles 9-7 down, it proved to be too big an ask against such spirited opposition to win the seven points needed to retain the cup.

If the knives come out for Faldo, those brandishing them are failing to see the big picture.

"Let me just say, we hold the golf clubs and we play the shots," said Westwood, jumping to the defence of his captain during some tough questioning in the team news conference.

faldoandolly438.jpg

He will get a hard time for the order in which he sent out his players in the singles. But he shouldn't.

Just because the match was lost before star men Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington in the last four groups could have a say, doesn't mean Faldo made a mistake by not "top-loading".

There were no weak links in this side. And Europe won two-and-a-half points from the first four matches. How could anyone know the normally dazzling Sergio Garcia would fold so limply against Kim? The Spaniard may have had a poor week but you couldn't predict with any certainty he would lose on the 14th.

Where the match was lost was in the middle of the singles order with Perry, Weekley and Holmes setting up Furyk to win the Cup in game eight.

But any of those matches could have gone either way, and it is by fine margins that these things are decided.

If Hansen, all square after 15, could have survived to take Holmes down the last and scrape a half point, it would have brought the final matches into play.

And that may have vindicated Faldo.

As it turned out, it wouldn't have been enough anyway, because even if Hansen had halved to make it 14-10 to the USA, Europe would have needed to win all four remaining matches to retain the Cup.

And though McDowell and Poulter won, Westwood and Harrington lost, though we'll never know if those results would have been different if the match was still alive.

In the final analysis, the popular notion that Faldo would be unable to shake off his once single-minded focus and unite a team proved groundless. And his major decisions were pretty much proved right.

Controversial wildcard Poulter became Europe's talisman, winning four points from five matches.

westwood438.jpg

And his dropping of Westwood and Garcia from Saturday morning's foursomes - sparking controversy at the time - also worked out for the good.

"The session we were rested from, we won, so Nick wasn't wrong," added Westwood.

Faldo's manner angered certain sections of the media this week, with his tendency for flippant remarks or habit of making jokes at the wrong time. But that's Nick Faldo. All of us have our quirks.

His opening ceremony speech also drew ire, not least in this blog, for getting players' names and nationalities wrong. For that there was no excuse. But Europe didn't lose the Ryder Cup because of a speech.

Faldo was also repeatedly asked whether having just once vice-captain was right. But he was happy that between himself, vice-captain Jose Maria Olazabal and the older members of his team there was enough experience kicking about.

Azinger had three assistants and split his team into smaller units of four players with a captain for each. He also admitted the revamp of the selection system, including having four captains picks, was crucial.

Overall, the event was magnificent - hard-fought, tense and fiercely competitive, but conducted in superb spirit.

zingerboo438.jpg

The much-publicised rivalry between Faldo and Azinger never blew into anything and the tournament was the better for it.

The home crowds were boisterous and partisan and played the part of "the 13th man", as urged by Azinger in the build-up, perfectly. And though we thought it was close to boiling over at times it never did, save for a small minority who decided abusing Westwood was a smart thing to do.

The visiting fans, though vastly outnumbered, were tireless in the support of their team and the song-singing, flag waving and fancy-dress costumes set a new benchmark for Ryder Cup spectators.

Europe may have lost for the first time since 1999 but the 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla was a triumph for an event which some people feared would lose its allure if the US kept losing.

As a European it's hard to take defeat, but Valhalla confirmed the Ryder Cup as one of the world's great sporting events, and the next installment at Celtic Manor can't come some soon enough.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Excellent analysis - shame the majority of the media disagree.

    It could be argued that Faldo hid Westwood and Harrington at the back end because they were his worst players, alongside Garcia.

    In the end, USA won because they played better golf on a smash and target golf course that suited them better in front of an obnoxious crowd. Clever captaincy by Azinger for picking long hitters then designing the course for them.

    Check the scoring stats though and you will see some great golf. With Poulter the best player on either side: which is why the Faldo critics are running everywhere to pick on something else.

    The British media coverage of this event has been transparent and at times disgusting.

    We won't see hicks riding around on their golf clubs at Celtic Manor, that's for sure.

  • Comment number 2.

    As the outset I, probably like alot of people, was not happy that Faldo was captain. However even when Europe were down on Friday I started to change my mind. Faldo took the difficult decisions in leaving Monty at home and that had to happen at some stage. It was not his fault that the big guns did not perform on the final day. By taking the decisions he did he started the process of replacing the old with the new and that is never easy.

  • Comment number 3.

    I came away from this Ryder cup was won and lost on the course insomuch that the captains on both teams performed, and it was then down to the players. it's never nice to lose, and though some will still seek parties to blame, the general quality of golf on both teams would suggest that this was a finely balanced contest and a credit to the sport. i'm sure i'm like many other golf fans when all i am thinking of now is that i'm already relishing what may happen in Wales, and will certainly try to go to view the contest there - something that i could not have said 4 days ago....

  • Comment number 4.

    I came away from this Ryder cup with the belief that it was won and lost on the course insomuch that the captains on both teams performed, and it was ultimately down to the players. it's never nice to lose, and though some will still seek parties to blame, the general quality of golf on both teams would suggest that this was a finely balanced contest and as such was a credit to the sport. i'm sure i'm like many other golf fans when all i am thinking of now is that i'm relishing what will happen in Wales in 2010, and will certainly try to go to view the contest there - something that i could not have said 4 days ago....

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree with the analysis. The US won because overall their team played slightly better in a generally high standard. Faldo cannot be blamed for the unpredictably relatively poor performances of Garcia and Harrington, Europe's worst, closely followed by Jimenez and Westwood. He must have expected better from those four. On the other hand, he probably hoped for but didn't dare expect the extremely good performances from Poulter, Rose and McDowell, with the Scandinavians and the others putting in very acceptable efforts too. As for crowd behaviour, they're there to encourage their team and apart from a few idiots the level of behaviour seems to have been good. The opposition's chants can always be annoying for the other side, as it is to me, but that's part of the game. US crowds are never very generous towards the opposition anyway. The only thing I objected to was Weekley's antics whilst the hole was still in play.

  • Comment number 6.

    Robin, your future in journalism is limited. Far too sensible, too much truth, and you limited yourself to the bare facts. You should be ashamed of yourself bringing disgrace on such a noble profession. :-)

  • Comment number 7.

    Sometimes, you just have to put your hands up and say we were beaten by the better side. The USA were simply better than Europe over the 3 days.

    Faldo gave it his best shot and I think he did a great job. Consulting his players, giving them a rest when needed. People will jump on his singles line up but I would have backed Garcia and Jimenez to win their matches. They didn't and that is not Faldo's fault.

    I hope the press and everyone look at the facts before lynching Faldo but its far easier to critisice.

    Congratulations to the USA for the win but well done Europe and well done Faldo, you gave it everything you had. You can and should be proud of your efforts

  • Comment number 8.

    Faldo did his best - if two or three more players had gelled (Harrington and Garcia and Casey spring to mind) we'd have won. If they groundhogged the match until the end of the year, we'd win more than we lose because there was no way the yanks would be sinking all those putts.

    That said, good to see Rob in objective mode with his assessment of Faldo's captainancy. Yes, Nick was quirky but he was never less than human - and in an age where blandness rules the waves (just listen to Beckham and weep) that's very welcome.

  • Comment number 9.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this weekend; exciting golf, close matches and performances by players which were way above and beyond anything expected of them.

    Harrington and Westwood did not throw it away, anymore than Woods and Mickelson threw away the last two Ryder Cups. The opposition just played better.

    Weekley and Holmes did not disgrace themselves with their celebrations anymore than Clarke, Westwood and Garcia have in previous years.

    The whole Faldo scenario was, unfortunately, set in stone the minute he was appointed as captain.

    Too much of the media decided "we don't like Nick, he doesn't care much for us so he's the scapegoat if we need one."

    That attitude prevailed throughout the qualification process, with predictions of him being the weak link in any team, and was cranked up even more in the last month.

    I think it is fair to say that the short-sellng 'spivs' in the City could learn some real dirty tricks from the Fleet Street back-stabbers!

  • Comment number 10.

    Excellent comments by Rob and Lawdmuck, I was expecting to come in and defend Faldo but was surprised to see such a balanced blog - perhaps you should talk to your colleague Mr Carter who has been having a go at Faldo on the radio. Facts of the matter are that the US team played better on a bombers course and holed more putts and Garcia, Westwood and Harrington (again!) did not win any full points.

    In respect of certain issues which will be debated:
    1. Garcia was rested in the Sat foresomes as he was tired and asked to be rested - as he was going to play with Westie it made sense to play another pair who had practiced together, ie Stenson and Wilson.

    2. Poulter's pick - 4 pts, enough said.

    3. The singles order, apparently it was back end loaded - are these the same pundits who said Europe had no weak links. To go through the top five: Garcia WR5, Casey WR 38 and former HSBC matchplay champion, Karlsson WR 17 - won tournament previous week, Rose WR 13 and European #1, Stenson WR 7 and former WGC matchplay champ. The top order was therefore strong and if Miguel or Soren had got something the bottom 4 games would have come into play and Westie and Harrington would surely have turned around their games.



  • Comment number 11.

    I don't blame Faldo. Under the circumstances he did wonderfully well with some amusing quips and entertaining press conferences. I even remember seeing him giving instructions to one of the players (Stenson?) as to how to drop the ball. He did everything he could to help. But what more could he do, other than play the shots himself?
    The European team were beaten by a superb American side whose sporting behaviour (as well as that of the good-natured American spectators) was a joy to behold. No, we were simply beaten fair and square, albeit whilst playing below the usual standard in some cases.
    Well done America! What fun it was to see such great golf.

  • Comment number 12.

    Again nice to see a balanced article. Faldo has his flaws (don't we all) but for the media to continue to ride him so hard smacks of something else. Is it that he did not give interviews when they (the media) wanted them in a previous era? Who knows, what is true is that we came out of the team game only 2 down, probably the area where a captain has most influence through pairings.

    A lot is made of that 6 footer that Faldo made Azinger take and it was meaningless. Well I'm sorry it is the media that make them meaningful, what did Gary Linaker ask Westwood about first when he lost, that's right, how it felt about his personal record.

    Faldo is one of the few Englishmen in golf that get it, golf is about being a gentleman and not about being generous.

    I have to say that in general the US crowd were pretty well behaved from what coverage I saw. In general a course to hit it long and sink the putt, smash and target summed up the US "smash and grab" which was their triumph this time, congrats to you but this is not the Americas Cup don't get used to having it, Celtic Manor here we come :)

  • Comment number 13.

    It may well be that the majority of the media 'journos' have their knives out, but as the majority of them are drunken hacks who like nothing better than to have a pop and write in a style that suggests they could do better at anything and everything they write about, their opinions count for nothing.

    Faldo tried his best but as Westwood says, the players are the ones swinging the clubs. Europe have done marvellously well to win most of the Ryders since 1985, both home and away. Losing 16.5-11.5 on their patch is no disgrace.

  • Comment number 14.

    As I predicted the US won but margin bigger than expected. Faldo was a good player but never a good RC captain. Poor tactics. He also has personality issues.

  • Comment number 15.

    Remarkable - all good comments. The USA seemed to play the better golf. I say seemed as I had to rely on the radio commentary - great job but it does not beat pictures - and the highlights, again very well done but no fun if you know the score. Please fight for it to be live on terrestial TV next time.

  • Comment number 16.

    "US captain Paul Azinger inspired a new crop of young American stars"

    You just contradicted your entire "Captain is not to blame" argument

    It is not possible for Azinger to be able to make a difference and Faldo not to be able to make a difference.

    The fact is that Faldo threw it away with his poor selections, most of all putting the big guns at the end of the singles order when it was obvious to all that there was a substantial chance that the Cup would be lost before then (as proved to be the case)

  • Comment number 17.

    Two decisive factors in that (excellent!) Ryder Cup.

    1. Big positive factor for the US

    ... was the absence of the great man. Tiger has a suffocating effect on other American players and, free of that, the team were able to relax into the team format and play their best golf.

    2. Big negative factor for Europe

    ... was the all too obvious ill feeling between Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia. This affected them both badly and they didn't win a single match between them. Played 8, lost 5, halved 3. No way could Europe win the cup with that paltry contribution from their top 2 players. Course, Harrington is not a good RC player in any case (has now scored a miserable half a point in each of the last 2) but Garcia is usually an inspiration and his poor performance this time was key to Europe's failure to defend. Also worth nothing that the other member of our Big 3, Lee Westwood, seemed to be infected by the "Padraig v Sergio" malaise. Played 4, lost 2, halved 2 was Lee's contribution. Compounded things by complaining about the crowd and coming over as a bit of a moaning ninny. So, our Big 3 each played 4 out of 5 times and didn't win a single match between them. There's your answer, right there.

    As regards the captains ...

    Azinger was spot on in every way. I give him 10/10.

    Nick Faldo was pretty good but I think he can be blamed a little bit for the Sergio, Padraig problem. It was an important part of his job as captain to sort those 2 out and he clearly didn't do that. I give him 6/10.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm stunned! A fair, balanced report on a major sporting event??

    Fantastic reading

  • Comment number 19.

    Firstly great article and very good analysis of the weekend's play.

    In a previous blog I said I thought Faldo was wrong to leave Clarke out of it but his picks played very well, particularly Poulter who was certainly the best of the Europeans so I'm happy to admit I was wrong there. Personally I'm still not a fan of Faldo's captaincy style during this tournament. He never appeared to know what was going on or be in control but then maybe it was all different within the team.

    That wasn't the reason we lost though. The reason was the Americans played some fantastic golf and we couldn't match them. Our bigger players failed to produce what everyone knows they are capable of and so we didn't pick up the points in the first 2 days that really we needed. Boo Weekley was tremendous for them, played excellent stuff and got the crowd going as well. He became a figurehead like Monty has been for us in previous years and didn't let his team down at all. As you say though Rob there were some very close matches out there and in previous years we've managed to sneak out a half point from an almost certain loss and won a point on the last hole of a match. This year it was the USA's turn to do that and they did it very well.

    All in all it was a fantastic tournament though, played in a terrific spirit and to a high standard. I'm gutted Europe lost but congratulations to USA they thoroughly deserved it this time round. I hope they realise that trophy's only on loan for a couple of years though!

  • Comment number 20.

    A Good report Rob - can't believe I just wrote those words.

    I personally don't believe the blame should be at Nick's door. The singles line up look good before the day, and at the end of the day we lost, But we were only half a point from getting into the last four games, which in essence meant half a point from the last two games, then who knows could've been a totally different story. Casey, Garcia, Jimenez and most all Harrington were no where near there top form and we ran them close, if they had performed to 80% of what they can do then it’s a different ball game.

    Finds of the week, Poulter obviously vindicates Nick's pick and along with G Mac, Ollie Wilson and Justin Rose.

    This was not about the captaincy as we know Nick was going to get vilified from the start. We got beat by a team that holed more key putts at crucial time, and the underperforming four above, that only amassed something like 2 half points between them - woeful.

    Lets totally put the cat amongst the pigeons - Nick for 2010…….

  • Comment number 21.

    Of course we lost the Ryder Cup because of Faldo's inept performance as captain.

    He is self-obsessed and repeatedly during the tournament, when he should have been with his players, encouraging them to perform and pick up their game, he was cavorting with his family or playing up to the galleries.

    One wonders what criteria he met when faced with his Ryder Cup interview.

    "So Nick, when you were on Tour, how did you build relationships with other players and gain their respect?"

    "I didn't."

    "And how would you describe your relationship with the media?"

    "I hated them."

    "If you decide to rest a player, how will you communicate that?"

    "I'll make up an excuse."

    "What's your goal in Valhalla?"

    "Have a nice week with my family."

    Lamentable performance from a terrible choice of captain. I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 22.

    It was another great Ryder Cup and it could have gone either way on the final day. The 'boisterous' Americans Kim, Weekley and Holmes played some thrilling golf and others, like Mahan and Perry were also excellent. Garcia disappointed in the manner in which he conducted himself against Kim and deserved his thrashing by the youngster, who could be the next star of world golf. I criticised Faldo for his line up for the singles, but in the end the Americans were simply too good. Ian Poulter was excellent and easily justified being picked by Faldo, while another European to catch my eye was Robert Karlsson.

  • Comment number 23.

    Europe should have no complaints THis was a revitalised US team playing very good golf and being without Tiger certainly took away the fear factor that he generates even in his own team.
    THe non performance of Garcia Harrington and Westwood left the European team with far too much to do against a fired up US team that certainly hit form with regards to putting.Azinger was clever to play up the underdog status which of course was nonsense and perhaps we were witnessing the swing of golfing power back to USA after ten years of European dominance but a fantastic occassion

  • Comment number 24.

    Funny thing is, when US were losing three on the spin, all the talk from their camp was that the Ryder Cup 'doesn't matter much', particularly compared to the President's Cup. Looking at their celebrations yesterday, it seems to matter again. Wonder why that might be....

    It'll certainly gice some added spice to the next Ryder Cup if nothing else!

  • Comment number 25.

    We have become very bad and ungracious losers and a lot of media types have their own rather unattractive and bitter agendas with Faldo. Of course he didn''t lose it, he actually played a very sound hand as captain and was also always excellent value during his many interviews and soundbites. The truth is his very good European side got beaten by an excellent and inspired USA team over three incredible days of golf. If you are looking for scapegoats - and you shouldn't be - look at the realtive "no-shows" of Harrington and Garcia and the less than inspiring form of Westwood. That trio - normally so reliable - should have been at the very heart of Europe's effort and it is amazing that Europe did as well as they did without them firing on all four cylinders. A timely prick in the rather over-inflated European bubble but don't blame Faldo. I don't remember people blaming Mark James for the defeat in 99

  • Comment number 26.

    Some great comments here from golf fans. I can't imagine soccer fans being as fair!Yes, the US won because they were the better team. And yes, the hacks will crucify Faldo unjustifiably. But that's why journalists are down there with politicians and estate agents at the bottom of the pile. Why let the facts get in the way of a good story...

  • Comment number 27.

    It's a bit like Michael Schumacher - he kept on winning, winning, winning and Formula One became boring.
    Maybe the golfing "powers that be" wanted Europe to stop winning in order that interest in the Ryder Cup would be reignited in the USA.
    So they appointed Nick Faldo as captain knowing his jaggy relationship with the press and his total lack of personality and man management skills would hand a win to the USA on a plate.
    .......and it worked !!

  • Comment number 28.

    I am glad to see most people realise that whilst Faldo has his idiosyncracies and may not a perfect captain he did not cause the defeat. Most of his big calls were right, Poulter was our best player and he should kick on from this performance, we won the session he rested Garcia and Westwood and his singles line up very nearly worked.

    The top third delivered but the middle players were outplayed and they looked good matchups prior to going out. Faldo could not legislate for the three senior players touted as the new team leaders without Monty all underperforming (Garcia, Harrington and Westwood). The USA team played great golf and won a tight match, we will be slight favourites at home next time and with the course set up the way we want it and home advantage we will hopefully sneak another classic.

    Finally, I hope Olazabal is confirmed as the next captain, a class act on and off the course who I am sure will do a great job.

  • Comment number 29.

    Harrington obviously now sees himself as some sort of "European Tiger" ... solid in the majors, useless in the Ryder Cup. Unfortunately, this time, Garcia allowed himself to be dragged down the same level.

  • Comment number 30.

    Very good blog and the replies are mostly very good too. I wonder if Faldo has the stomach to be captain again in 2 years time? I thought the way he drew the media attention on to himself and away from the players is just what you want in the Ryder cup. One person I spoke to said that he thought Faldo would put on a batman suit and run around the course if it would draw media attention away from the players. I watched more of this Ryder cup than any previously and the standard of golf was incredible. When you have 2 players hitting the ball within 6 foot of the flag for 18 holes the matches split on the tiniest margins and the luck when putts go in. USA had the luck with the putts (apart from Mickleson in the singles) and did also sometimes make better shot choices (watching Sergio hit 2 in a row into the water was a particular low point).

    Above someone alluded to the difficult relationship between Harrington and Garcia..what's that all about?

  • Comment number 31.

    I think the problem with Nick Faldo was not so much his decisions, which were all explainable. I am not sure, though, that all the team really wanted to play for Faldo in the same way that previous teams wanted to play for Jacklin or Gallagher or Langer or Woosie or Torrance, and the way the Americans wanted to play for Azinger. For the first time that I can think of, the US seemed more of a team compared with the Europeans. The lesser names raised there games. We may never here of Boo Weekley or JB Holmes or Kenny Perry again, but they stamped themselves all over this event. Whatever Anthony Kim achieves in golf, he played as skillfully as he ever will again in playing his part. Phil Mickelsen seemed to revel in a kind of senior pro position, even if some of his results were not fantastic. But in a sense thats the point, it wasn't a Ryder Cup of the Stars, it was a Ryder Cup of the journeymen.

  • Comment number 32.

    Faldo and the boys did a great job. Okay, so we didn't win on a course set up for the Americans, by the Americans, which is their right and they did it very well. Despite disappointment, it is great for the Ryder Cup that the "Yanks are Back". It will make Celtic Manor another wonderful competition.

    The press will no doubt try and crucify Faldo again, which is totally unfair. I think our most successful golfer ever, did a great job of the captaincy. That he is "socially inept" is well known and makes him an easy target, but unlike money grabbing, silver tongued press reporters, Nick has "Golf" engraved on his heart and knows more about the game than any glib pressroom patsy.

    Well done Nick and the boys!

  • Comment number 33.

    SIMPLE ANALYSIS

    1 The US always win the singles

    2 Hence essential for Europe to be ahead after the foursomes,which they were not.

    3 This indicates failures of players to work well together in teams

    4 This partly arises due to inappropriate pairings.

    5.Different players need different forms of motivation to succeed.

    .Faldo was weak in factors 4 and 5


  • Comment number 34.

    My word! - a balanced piece of journalism here. I haven't seen this for about ten years.

    You can't win all the time. If we did it would be boring. The USA team played slightly better golf on a course that suited them. The best team won which is how it should be.

    It was still a great spectacle and advert for the game.

    I also loved the fact that Poulter outplayed everybody. It must leave all those Faldo detractors a bit short on words.

  • Comment number 35.

    The US played better golf. Thats it, no blame on Faldo.

    The US resurgence is going to make 2010 far more interesting than it would have been if Europe had won.

  • Comment number 36.

    Sorry, I meant to say in my previous comment that unlike other journalists, Robs report is spot on, fair, balanced and extremely well written.

  • Comment number 37.

    I believed Europe would win at the start of the cup but unfortunately we came up short - just. The performance of Europes Big 3 being the main cause.

    Is not a suprise though losing in America, prior to this we've only won 3 times in 18 attempts.

    Shame the big three didn't turn up, it would have made what was a weekend of great golf even more memorable.

    Lets just see what the players have to say, and no doubt a book in the near future.

    Good to see some support out there for Nick, and not the usual bashing that has been around all weekend, shame the press didn't get behind Nick and the team sooner.

  • Comment number 38.

    Some of the golf was simply fantastic - from both sides - with the Americans just playing that bit better...
    Harrington, Garcia and Westwood didn't quite pull their weight and that made the difference.
    Faldo's comic material needs a lot of work but the captain's role has been blown hugely out of proportion in recent years.
    Having said that, I won't complain if Woosnam is asked back to lead the charge at Celtic Manor - which aint much of a course, by the way...

  • Comment number 39.

    Why are you wanting to blame someone for this defeat . This Ryder Cup showed everything which is great about golf, and what a supremely difficult game it is , and the margin between success and loosing is so fine. Everyone played hard and showed true sportsmanship which this game evokes, and afterward they shook hands and congratulated or commiserated with each other .
    Its sport and there are more important things for people to get wound up about. Enjoy sport for what it is .

    Well done to the Europeans who played their hearts out and especially Ian Poulter.Commiserations to Sergio who will win a major Im sure. Dont blame Faldo, congratulate Assinger who Im sure we all have admired since his playing days.

  • Comment number 40.

    Not really an analysis of what happened, with an eye to learning, is it, this blog?
    Our guys were not as motivated as the US team, the body language was clear. That is an element all too predictable with Faldo as captain. He was a hell of a player, very single minded- nothing wrong with that, but not prone to making friends.
    In the end it was this lack of energy and pride, that made the difference. For th most part the Europeans matched the US team from tee to green, but the huge difference in putts made was the clincher. Also the European performance on par 3s, was abysmal. Constantly scrambling for 3's, while the US team rolled in birdie after birdie. By the time the singles games came along, I would have hoped the players might have had enough help to at least choose the right clubs to hit some of those greens. Captain and vice captain should have sorted that out.

  • Comment number 41.

    It is not beside the point that the biggest name of all was missing during the Ryder Cup and that his absence seemed to dynamise the American team whereas, in recent editions, it has seemed to inhibit them.

    Europe did not lose due to poor selections or to poor captaincy. We lost because:

    (a) In tight situations the Americans played better.

    and

    (b) Our biggest guns just did not fire.

    This was an American side that, on paper, looked the weakest for years, but that showed a spirit and a determination that had been exclusive to the Europeans for years. There was no shame in losing to them. Anyone who blames the defeat on Nick Faldo is just missing the point. If you are going to blame someone, blame the players who did not perform and who left the weight of point-scoring to the rookies and the marginal picks on the European side. Saying that we lost because of a lack of experienced players ignores the fact that the experienced players who did play contributed very little. If we had had Darren Clarke or Monty instead of Ian Poulter it could well have been even worse.

  • Comment number 42.

    As others have said, Faldo - great player but a predictably poor RC captain. He is and always has been a loner and his lack of team / motivational drive clearly contributed to the loss. As someone above said you can't congratulate Azinger and not put at least some of the blame on Faldo.

    For me the RC has been far too much about Faldo and I don't think he has done anything to diminish that - he still wants to be at the centre of stuff and that's no good for a team campaign.

    One other thing. Why do I keep reading that Faldo isn't sure whether he wants the captaincy next time around. Surely it's not him who decides. And why after having a whole raft of winning captains over recent years would we want a losing captain at the helm next time?

  • Comment number 43.

    When the captains picks were made, i had no problem with poulter being picked it was the way it was done - Casey was the one i always felt shouldn't have been picked and i think he was another weak link, he drives the ball for miles but he can't putt - driving for show, putting for dough.

    All in all the better team won, Azinger used the advantage of being home captain to set the course up as he wanted and it paid off - Europe can do that next time in Wales.

    Europes biggest problem was Garcia, Westwood, Harrington and Casey the 4 you were expecting to get points and they just didn't perform, perhaps it was the pressure of being the team leaders that got to them.

    plus points - Poulter, Rose, McDowell, Wilson, Karlson

    negative points - Garcia, westwood, casey, harrington, jiminez, hansen and stenson

    I think europe will come back next time but it cant be underestemitated the fact tiger wasnt there, i think that greatly helped USA - Everyone wants to beat him and i think especially in ryder cups people raise their game against him.

    The US team will also be under a great deal more pressure next time round, so it will be interesting to see how they do then and also away from their own fans.

    I'm also sure that the US team will be greatly changed in 2 years, players come and go alot in the US - Where is JJ Henry??

  • Comment number 44.

    I do not understand the comments about Harrington vs Garcia. It simply doesn't matter. Our big players didn't play as well. They played OK, but the USA played better. Crucially the holed the majority of putts from inside 15ft.

    One thing that was disappointing was Garcia vs Kim. Garcia tried to dominate Kim mentally, and threw it away. To see how he played when 2 down was pathetic. He embarassed himself and made Kim a hero.

    Casey had a few aberrations (particularly the 15th hole when he needed a simple par to win and go 1 up). He grafted to get a half when not playing brilliantly against an inspired Mahan.

    Credit should be given to Karlsson, Poulter, McDowell who were all superb.

    More credit should be given to Weekley and Mahan. Mahan played great golf and was almost always ahead in his matches. Weekley (no matter what anyone says about his accent, his views, or his on course antics) was fun and played stunning tee to green golf. And Kenny Perry deserves great praise for his singles golf When he's hot, he hits 63s and 64s and he did that yesterday. He kept calm, played with incredible respect and integrity and demolished Stenson. (it should be said Stenson was calm and wonderfully dignified all week).

    Anyway, in summary, there's too much analysis. The home team generally always has the better chance. They played great golf, enjoyed it and deserved it. Europe weren't as good, Faldo had to make some bold decisions to catch up after Day 1 and it almost worked. It didn't and that's the rub of the green. Can't wait for Celtic Manor.

  • Comment number 45.

    Teams are sometimes greater than the sum of their parts. The US have shown that during this Ryder Cup. Europe just couldn't quite match them in these terms but it was a fantastic effort by them all the same.

    Faldo did it his way which is the best thing because 2nd guessing the opposition is one thing, but when you start 2nd guessing yourself then you really are in trouble. I think he did a great job and hope he does captain Europe again.

  • Comment number 46.

    As one who was not impressed with Faldo in the build up - McGinley withdrawing, wild card picks, issue with vice captains and his opening speech to name but a few, on the 3 days of golf I belive he made some very good decisions and was undone because Harrington, Garcia, Westwood and Jiminez did not perform. They all looked tired and lacklustre.

    I liked the fact he used all the players early on and I also liked his plan for the final day - one more point in the middle order could have made a very interesting finish. His interviews were very honest and fair.

    One challenge to Faldo is to why the experienced players did not perform for him but the younger ones did? Is that because the younger players idolise him and want to play for him where the big 4 did not feel the same way. Maybe just as well then that Monty and Clarke were not there. Garcia was a completely different player to the one we normally see at Ryder Cups and quite frankly his attitude on final day was a disgrace. The other 3 just looked spent.

    So that's the big question for me - was Faldo the intrinsic reason why the top players did not perform? Or was he just unlucky?

  • Comment number 47.

    Credit must go to the Americans. Their iron play and general putting was far superior to the European team and was amazing to watch.
    It's amazing how the media have changed their views over Faldo's wildcards. Before the event they were all saying Casey was a good pick but why was Poulter picked. Today they are saying Faldo made a mistake picking Casey but made the correct decision with Poulter!
    They shouldn't say now what they weren't saying beforehand.

  • Comment number 48.

    I thought Faldo was excellent.

    People forget that in sport somebody has to lose. Rather than look for reasons and excuses as to why a team, or individual lost, let us rather consider why the winner won. All this 'if this' and 'if that' and 'if only he had played', is just whistling in the wind.

    The USA were superb. They played golf that any team, under any captain, would have found hard to compete with.

    Faldo's leadership was brave, and inspired at times. Massive vindication on the Poulter decision. The team lost - because somebody has to lose. Sometimes it is surely better to sit back and accept that one's team cannot always win. That is life.
    The nonsense being banded around about Monty and Clark is quite ridiculous. It is entirely plausible that, if picked, they may not have scored a single point. This will never be known.

    This tournament was twelve world class players, against their twelve world class opponents. One team had to lose. This time it was Europe. Accept it and look forward to the next tournament. To my mind it was the most exciting Ryder Cup I have watched. I loved it.

  • Comment number 49.

    Faldo done good. Very good.
    Media done bad. Very bad.

  • Comment number 50.

    Not having Tiger Woods in the team was a bonus for the Americans because previously they were always burdened with his presence, as there was so much expectation on him to win every game. I think that anyone playing with him must always have felt that they were disadvantage being with such a great tournement player. It probbaly affected their own game.
    The win was predictable as all the British media gave the Americans no chance whatsoever. Weekeley, Parry, Holmes, Curtis etc were written off as no-hopers but they responded magnificently. Maybe Faldo was not a good choice as he was a controversial player.

  • Comment number 51.

    The US players each felt they could contribute because they didn't have Tiger to fall back on. They played like a team and it showed.

  • Comment number 52.

    Nick Faldo never had a chance with the media. Like some from other sports, e.g. Nigel Mansell, Steve Davies, Geoff Boycott, it is possible to be loved by the fans and disliked by the media.

    Generally, those that sip orange juice and go home to their families after the event are pilloried (usually called 'boring')and those sportsman that like a pint and give a good story, e.g. Ian Botham, are adored by the press and given good copy.

    This was a great match, some excellent play, one team of players won and the other lost. It happens.

  • Comment number 53.

    Faldo's not to blame, some of the European players should examine their performances and ask themselves did I really perform on the day.
    Firstly Poulter and Casey should have performed better to gain automatic places in the team. They we in my opinion our best players but having to pick them as wild cards mean't we were a little light in the experience department. We needed a couple of old heads out there, a Clarke or Montgomerie in order to bolster the middle order in the singles.
    Secondly Harrington looked injured to me and that probably cost us points in the team section because of it.
    Thirdly Garcia's got a putting problem now admittedly against Kim sinking everything not too many Europeans would ahve survived however Sergio to me looks like he's getting the Yips if indeed he hasn't already got them.
    Finally the USA out played us they were better on the greens and they applied the pressure at just the right time. Fair play to them I honestly think that there wasn't a lot Nick could do. Can't wait for us to redress the balance at Celtic Manor, I will be there in the crowd adding to the atmosphere

  • Comment number 54.

    Whilst I agree with a number of your points, I have to disagree with the below statement;

    "There were no weak links in this side. And Europe won two-and-a-half points from the first four matches. How could anyone know the normally dazzling Sergio Garcia would fold so limply against Kim? The Spaniard may have had a poor week but you couldn't predict with any certainty he would lose on the 14th."

    Simply put Faldo didn't pick a singles order on form over the weekend but over the year. This was a mistake. Garcia had been poor all weekend and he was likely to lose under pressure form the American crowd. It doesn't matter how many you lose by, anyway. Faldo should have put Poulter out first and let the team feed off his confidence.

  • Comment number 55.

    Europe lost because the USA simply played better. I won't hear any criticism of the crowd, or the fact they were "whipped up" by Team USA. They have every right to do so as the home team and I would have expected them to applaud Europe's good shots too. From what I saw, they did just that. The media can have a field day over Faldo, but he was out to win just as much as Azinger. As someone who had hardly heard of half the USA team before this weekend, I congratulate them on a great performance when it was most needed.

    I thought Phil Mickelson's overall performance was excellent, he's under-achieved in the past being paired with Tiger Woods but was able to give himself to the team much better without him. Ian Poulter was just superb, he had so much to prove having been picked ahead of Clarke and Monty. I hope he can now play the Majors as a potential winner from the start, rather than simply being reported for what he's wearing.

    I'm already looking forward to the next Ryder Cup in 2010. Let's hope all the best Europeans qualify automatically and our crowd gets behind us in the right way. I'd put money on now that we win The Cup back.

  • Comment number 56.

    First of all, congratulations on a beautifully written, fair and balanced article – I think you summed everything up perfectly.

    In all honesty, I never thought that Faldo was a good choice as a captain – he has never been the greatest of communicators and seems to have a habit of inadvertently saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, especially to the media. As has already been said, his opening speech was cringeworthy.
    However, having said that, we didn’t lose because of Faldo. He got most of his decisions correct and the one he seems to be getting the most stick for – the player order for the singles – seems to have been a joint decision made with the full input of the team.

    I think that it is telling that all of the players are resisting the easy option of blaming Faldo and standing up to say “No – it was us; we didn’t play well enough” – which is refreshingly honest.

    Why did we lose? I think that it is simply a case of the Americans using home advantage to the best of their ability with the choice and set up of the course (and why shouldn’t they? That’s what home advantage is all about!) and most importantly, that their players were consistently brilliant. Hats off to them for that.

    My only beef with them is that some of their players – Boo Weekley, JB Holmes and most of all, Anthony Kim – were guilty of stoking up the fans at inappropriate times. This worries me because it might be used by our own gutter press as an excuse to up the ante in 2010.
    The Ryder Cup seems to entice in fans who are hell bent on seeing their team win at any cost rather than simply wanting their team to win and witnessing great golf in the process. I wonder what sort of reception the aforementioned US players will get at Celtic Manor – and I wonder whether certain papers will ‘encourage’ that reception?
    Golf doesn’t need this sort of thing and if the personal abuse of players of the sort that Lee Westwood suffered this weekend becomes the norm, the Ryder Cup will eventually just cease to be and that would be a terrible shame.

  • Comment number 57.

    I think Faldo was a poor captain with no people skills he didn't inspire the team at all, why didn't the senior players perform? Maybe because they knew Faldo better than the newer players. As for Poulter I was one who was very much against the obviously underhand way he had been given the nod. I can't deny he played well but he was allowed to, after bottling it on the first morning he and Rose were incredulously put out in the four balls, where they were basically given a bye against the hapless Stricker an Curtis, Curtis not getting a single birdie. After that he played very well and won 4 points, who's to say Clarke wouldn't have done as well, he has in the past. The playing order for the singles was another grave error by Faldo, if you look at history you put your best players out early and get a good start it inspires the players coming later and puts your opponents under pressure, something the Americans never felt. Garcia has a poor record in the singles so putting him out first was like giving them a one point start.

  • Comment number 58.

    Faldo did little wrong, the constant harping on by most of the media and some of the posters here is nonsensical since a sizeable proportion of Faldo's detractors are pressing Montgomerie's claim for the post in the future, which given that Montgomerie is basically Faldo sans success is just bizarre.

    The fact is Faldo faced a big ask which was to manage the transition from old stagers like Montgomerie, Olazabal and Clarke and usher in some new blood at an away match. Nobody could predict it would be the big guns that would let him down.

    When Mark James lost in 99 in the first match without Langer, Faldo and Woosnam, nobody criticised James, but then James is a media friendly old British journeyman pro rather than a prickly multi major winner. It's always been obvious what the great and the good in the British press gallery prefer.

  • Comment number 59.

    Thank God we haven't got to listen to the Yanks shout "get in the hole" everytime somebody swings a putter for a while. Almost made it impossible to watch.

  • Comment number 60.

    The European team were basically out putted. The standard of golf from both sides was some of the finest golf that I have witnessed.
    Faldo is being lambasted for his role, but the players let him down badly in the middle and end of the draw for the singles.
    In the end the USA team were just better on the day.

  • Comment number 61.

    Apologies for the question marks which are all over my Post 56 - I wrote my comments in Word before copying and pasting them on here and there seems to have been some problems!

  • Comment number 62.

    The Americans putted better than us. That was the difference between the teams.

    Garcia fell well short and the tone was set early on.

    Faldo was a good captain and had the backing of all his players and staff.

    We can be proud in defeat and to make it 5 in a row was against all the odds.

    As our American hosts would say boooooooooooooo boooooooooooooooooo boooooooooooooooo booooooooooooooo!

    Great imagination!

  • Comment number 63.

    No complaints at Faldo,

    Quite simply the three big guns didn't perform, Garcia, Westwood and Harrington.

    I am not blaming them but they didn't get the points we needed to win. If they cant score then we cant win, regardless of whether we put them out to set the tone of the last day, or try to shelter them at the end to ease some of the nerves and tension.

    Thoroughly enjoyable Cup and looking forward to challenging next time.

  • Comment number 64.

    I agree with point 21 from Golfhypnotist. Past victories have been inspired by teamwork. These guys tried hard, but they were never inspired by Faldo. He is only concerned about himself and always has been.

    I recall taking my young daughter to a practice day before The Open at Lytham a few years back. It happened to be Faldo's birthday and as he walked past us, I encouraged her to wish him a happy birthday. He completely blanked her. The spectators around us were completely aghast. Before you say "he was in the zone", let me tell you that all other pros on the day were courteous and friendly (it was practice day). Faldo missed the cut!

    Nobody liked him on tour. This cannot be excused as being totally focused. Woods, Nicklaus, Palmer. They were all successful AND nice guys.

  • Comment number 65.

    USA played better and competed harder than they have done for years but Europe lost because their experienced big-name core of Garcia, Westwood and Harrington just did not show up this week.

    It's as simple as that.

  • Comment number 66.

    The knives aimed at Faldo (though not, refreshingly, in this article - good job!) are pointless.
    From the moment Faldo named his wildcard picks, large sections of the media had it in for him. It was clear then that anything other than a crushing victory for Europe would have been met with savage (and unfair) criticism. Yet, had Europe won, it's highly likely that instead of praising Faldo and the players equally, all the praise would have been on the players and the victory would have been "in spite of Faldo, rather than because of him".

    The simple fact is....the US were better than us. They won fair and square. It might come as a shock to some, but it does happen in sport that the better team wins.

    Bring on Celtic Manor!

  • Comment number 67.

    I am refreshed to see that our trusted BBC has actually used some intelligence and avoided jumping on the Faldo bashing bandwagon.

    For me Faldo had an IMPOSSIBLE task following several record breaking performances destroying the US last time out. He could have lost 14.5 13.5 and would still have been slated by certain sections of the press.

    His captains picks both played exceptionally, Poulter showed everyone his quality as a player and his passion and spirit. Yes the lad is a bit of nutter and has the dress sense of blind a monkey but never the less he has stones and unlike many of the europeans didnt step up.

    Many of the big star European players just didnt show and experienced Ryder cup players just didnt do the business and Faldo cannot be blamed for Garcia, Harrington, Karlsson, Westwood and Jiminez all under performing and i think much credit to Westwood et al for standing up and taking some blame on their shoulders.

    The Ryder cup is a Team Event. You live as a team and die as a team.

  • Comment number 68.

    I cannot believe there are still people out yhere willing to blame one man for the loss of the Ryder Cup. Europe lost because the Americans played better over the three days. Faldo is a non-playing captain, supported by Olazabal din't forget! He, and all the players, have stated that they worked and made decisions as a TEAM so how can you blame him solely? Garcia, Westwood and Harrington shouldn't need to be cajouled into performing they are highly paid and successful professionals. Other players did raise their game, especially some of the rookies.
    I think the Americans deserve a lot of credit for finally seeing what has made the European team successful and bringing real competition back to the Ryder Cup.
    The competition was great and Iam looking forward to Celtic Manor

  • Comment number 69.

    The buck stops with the captain, so he should be held responsible. Otherwise, why is he there?

  • Comment number 70.

    Okay, I agree the players did not perform, but let us not forget Faldo made it clear he wanted to do it his way and without help (or very little). He made big mistakes from day 1, his wild cards were only 50% okay. Clarke would have got more than 1 point!

    Leadership is about get the maximum out of people and Faldo did nothing to inspire, it is funny that it is the wordt performing players who are supporting him????

  • Comment number 71.

    The buck stops with the captain for someone to blame if it goes wrong. This "Faldo only care about himself" is nonsense in terms of this weekend. Its blatantly clear that he sought the advice of the players, discussed tactics, took on board what they were saying. Ultimately he made the calls but he did so after gathering the information which any good captain would do.

    I've captained a team (not in golf and not at a high level) where we were 7-0 down and first to 8 wins. We came back and won 8-7. Was it great captaining? Not really cos all I said was "we know the situation, lets just go and play" Pulled it to 7-3. In the last set of 5, I put 2 strongish players on first, weakest in the middle and the other 2 strong players at the end and it worked. Could easily have gone the other way.

    Same for Faldo, he picked his singles line up on the basis of getting a good start, pick up points to keep them in it and have the big guns bring it home. It worked for me, just didn't work for him. Nothing Faldo could do. You can be the greatest motivator in the world, but if its just one of those days where nothing goes for you, doesn't make the blindest bit of difference.

    All motivation does is make sure you give it your best, doesn't mean you will win. Europe gave it everything, the USA were just better on the day

  • Comment number 72.

    I was at Oakhill 95. I wouldn't have had anybody in the world making that 10 footer on the last but Faldo. Unlike Woods, Mickleson and Harrington, Faldo's RC record is up there with the best so to say he is not a "team player" is daft. Nick Faldo is the reason the game had a resurgence in the UK and Europe.

    I, for one. hope he IS Captain next time-he deserves it. A 10 point victory for Europe would be really sweet for Nick.

  • Comment number 73.

    Yes the captain will take the blame, just like a manager gets the blame a football team, but we all watched it, we know who did and mostly who didn't perform, and for me that’s the reason why we didn't retain to cup. Hopefully Nick will get a chance to re-capture the trophy….oohhhh can you imagine the flak if Nick got installed as captain again.

    As for players not playing for Faldo, there all coming to his defence now. Its like they say we don't know what happens in the team room, but whatever happen throughout Faldo included his players where ever he could.

  • Comment number 74.

    Of course Faldo must take some blame, but as Westwood said - the players swing the clubs. I am sure the likes of Harrington and Garcia will be feeling a lot worse than Faldo and for good reason. But that's the joy of golf, that's why we love it.
    Shame the Beeb doesn't have live pictures though - that's the big scandal.

  • Comment number 75.

    I hate hearing golf fans saying "Faldo was always an arrogant loner and therefore a bad choice as captain" etc etc.

    How do they know he was an arrogant loner? Have they ever met him personally?

    Or are their "opinions" only based on something they read in a paper that was written by a disgruntled hack because Faldo wouldn't play ball with the media?

    Sportsmen do whatever they need to do to win. Faldo obviously decided that to win he had to be totally focussed on his game and couldn't do this by being jovial while on tour and out on the course.

    It was this focus that won him 6 majors. How may majors have those Europeans such as Mark James who hated Faldo won?

    Since Faldo has stopped playing he appears to have relaxed and his commentary and banter with Azinger on CBS is meant to be very very good and he's showing a side to his character not seen while he was playing.

    Unless these critics who say he's an arrogant loner used to spend time with Faldo off the course when he was at his peak they have no knowledge of the man personally and base their views on those of bitter hacks.

  • Comment number 76.

    I think I have more chance of being RC captain for Celtic Manor... Oops I wish I didn't say that, now they will make Faldo Captain just to spite me, funnily that is how performed as Captain he did things to spite people and prove people wrong or annoy people and the later is the only thing he achieved. I'm a Scotsman wanting the return of a Welshman....C'mon Woosey your Continent needs you!

  • Comment number 77.

    Poor team selection in the singles - typical of Faldo - no doubt courting his "quirky" image. No excuses - better golfers won, on a golf course designed to their team's strengths - Kim, Weekly, Mayhan....wouldn't be at the races on a links course...

  • Comment number 78.

    I thought this was an excellent and well reasoned article. It was an excellent competition, played in a good spirit, and Europe eventually lost to a marginally better all-round team performance. Generally speaking it was some of the older more experienced European players who under-performed, and they should not need motivating by their captain.

    I think that media knives were out for Nick Faldo from the start and that much of the criticism directed at him smacked of sour grapes and payback for the days when as a world-class player he spoke his mind about the press. Some of the media representatives would do well to remember that they depend as much on our sports stars as the players do upon them.

  • Comment number 79.

    I tend to agree with most of the views expressed here. The press always likes to look to find scapegoats and create hype and overreaction. They're always looking to find someone to blame because that's what sells paper.

    But sometimes there are no scapegoats. Sometimes you’ve got to accept the other side just played better. Sure, you could always say Faldo could’ve done this or that better, but overall Europe didn’t play badly at all. It was just that the US team hit a purple patch at the right time and deservedly won the match.

  • Comment number 80.

    Good article. While I'm not a Faldo fan, I think it's absurd to suggest his captaincy is the reason for a European defeat - which it seems the written press are trying their hardest to make people believe.

    The reason Europe won was they met an American team with too many form players - while European big names were just off the boil.

    They holed putt after putt while Europeans failed to take advantage of USA mistakes.

    And the final sentiments are very true also. I remember sitting watching the final acts of the Ryder Cup of 2006 - glad that Europe had won and overcome with emotion for Darren Clarke's achievement, but really felt that if scorelines such as 06 and 04 were to continue the Ryder Cup would quickly lose it's appeal on both sides of the Atlantic.

    As it is Europe will be hungry for success in 2010, and no captain can manufacture that hunger.

  • Comment number 81.

    As a very keen golf fan I was delighted at this years Ryder Cup, despite Europe losing. I think everyone can criticize all they want but the main reason we lost was simple, USA just played better golf.

    I was just amazed at the standard, players hitting long irons to a couple of feet on a continual basis. You just can’t beat someone that is 7 under through 10 holes like Bo Weekly was yesterday. I don’t care who was playing him, they would have come out without a point!

    I think sometimes we just need to sit back and say, do you know what, they just played too good for us. Faldo will always be criticized, but there are so many great decisions that he made that were justified, Ian Poulter’s wildcard selection being the primary.

    But captains are always going to make a couple of decisions where players don’t play that well, but that’s the nature of golf. Look at Steve Stricker and Ben Curtis on Friday, they got completely outplayed. But then Saturday afternoon the very same pairing played fantastic against Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey. That’s just golf and players sometimes have a bad day and get beaten. If we all could perform to our greatest ability every time we played, golf would become very boring and predictable.

    Bring on Wales 2010

  • Comment number 82.

    Good Blog, a balanced opinion which makes a change. I loved the way that prior to the Ryder Cup all the anti Faldo journos were saying that he should have picked Casey and Clarke but once Poulter started playing well it changed to should have been Poulter and Clarke.

    Faldo did little wrong, however I was surprised that he end loaded his singles. I would have been tempted to put Garcia, Harrington, Jimenez, Poulter and Westwood in the top 5 places, not because of hindsight but because we were 2 points down and hopefully these guys would have given Europe the lead and then some momentum to the other players filling the last 7 places.

    I am sure someone will prove me wrong (probable with Monty) but is there a history of the best players on both sides not doing well in RC. I know Woods has struggled for years and Harrington/Mickelson hardly shone this year. Maybe someone could give us some stats on that?

  • Comment number 83.

    As usual some of the media and a large percentage of fans will always look for a scapegoat, and they have chosen Faldo because he is the target at the helm. We do not have the right to think we should win everytime, we just did not perform and the USA did, plain and simple. Trouble is, we have been spoiled by the long string of Ryder Cup wins and find it hard to believe that the USA had the nerve to beat us! You could play the same pairings again next weekend and you would get a different result. For once we should congratulate the USA for their terrific performance and also leave the European team alone. They tried but in the end it was just not good enough. After all it's a game, which always has winners and losers. It is sad when people just can't accept that and always look to blame somebody. Bring on Celtic Manor!

  • Comment number 84.

    I agree that Faldo isnt completely to blame. However, there was never any sense of urgency for the players, and they did not perform to their best (they need to play above their normal game to win).
    The players knew what Valhalla was like, so why werent they better prepared?
    Taking your son with you may also not be the best mental preparation. Similarly, the expectation was that the American crowds may be a little boisterous - so why wasnt this managed?
    Operating at 95% meant that we lost - we needed to be at 110%! (like 2006)

  • Comment number 85.

    Once again the Ryder Cup showed just what sport is all about, at its best it's pure theatre. Thank heavens it's only every two years I couldn't stand this every year. If you wrote the script and said that Europe's three best players (Westwood,Garcia and Harrinton)would play well below their normal form,it would seem impossible in view of their previous records in this event. The put holed against Casey on the 17th and the drive into the water that followed only ever happens in Comic books. The US team won on Merit, and neither Faldo nor any of his team should be victimised.

  • Comment number 86.

    very good summary although clear that many journo's from the newspapers will find other ways to faldo-bash as our much fancied team were defeated.

    whilst I applaud the article, I find some of the BBC's articles pretty pathetic using words such as 'amphatic' and 'crushing' to describe the victory.

    Pretty clear that Pod and Westwood on learning that Europe had lost were struggling to motivate themselves and play for pride and the whole match was very close.

    I felt key moments were on 18th green on Saturday night.....two matches came down there all square...Stricker has miraculous up and down from the cabbage to grab a half off casey and garcia....and then next match karlsson misses eagle putt from 8 feet.

    no intention of apportioning blame but had those two incidents have been different, we would have gone into singles 8-8 and am sure things could have been different but game of fractions like Mr Faldo says and maybe US team had their name on trophy this year.

    A great 3 days of entertainment

  • Comment number 87.

    Does anyone know why Americans can see the Ryder Cup on free-to-air tv whilst in Europe we can only see it if we pay a subscription?

  • Comment number 88.

    Faldo was a dire captain.

    His preparation was poor, he could have ensured Poulter played enough events to qualify and effectively given himself another wildcard.

    He thought he could do it all alone and had very limited back up. With an adequate support team he could have given more encouragement. He may even have been able to do something about the 'yardage-chart-gate' accusations. I'm sure a word to the match referees would have avoided last minute changes to tee positions.

    He was barely visible in stark contrast to Zinger's energetic leadership.

    His startegy was laughable. He accepts that he put what he regarded as his stronger players in the last 4 groups when he was going into the singles two points down.

    and as for his motivational skills....ask GMac what he thinks.

  • Comment number 89.

    Faldo is all about himself.

    Even when involved in a format that is all about the players, Faldo has to maximise his impact so it is all about himself.

    By not selecting Westwood I believe he was affected. Similarly with Garcia. Overall his strategy nearly paid off. It's just his strategy reeks of overcomplication - it's as if Faldo has to do it his way, even if it means going the long way round.

    That said the better team did win.

    Faldo, the man's too much. Great great golfer in his day though but too much of an ego for this role.

  • Comment number 90.

    Arrogant, bitter and self obsessed. I am of course referring to the British Media. The grudge that they have held against Faldo for over 20 years requires far more dedication that Faldo ever demonstrated throughout his 6 major wins. The press don’t like Faldo because he is a winner – it’s the same with Andy Murray. They prefer a nice chap, upper class serial loser like Tim Henman any day. The worst thing is that they honestly believe the British public can’t see through their thinly veiled attack on Faldo. It’s nothing to do with the Ryder cup and everything to do with their dislike of his character. Opinion pieces in well respected papers such as the Telegraph and Times can’t even be excused. Disgraceful! Well done Robin Hodgetts for swimming against the tide with this article.

  • Comment number 91.

    Don't some of you people understand! It has to be Faldo's fault. Most of the British media and many of the fans cannot forgive him his success. He won SIX majors and always behaved with dignity on the course(unlike the childish Monty). What he has always failed to do was suck up to the media but his support for young golfers and charity puts most of the nice guys to shame. When he beat Greg Norman (who never hid his animosity) in the famous last round at the Masters he showed true style. He had the guts to select on form not sentiment and look what happened with Poulter! He assumed that his top players would perform as any captain has to. On this occasion thay did not. It happens in sport and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it!

  • Comment number 92.

    "The press don't like Faldo because he is a winner".

    I guess I just imagined that Zinger and his boys humped us then.

  • Comment number 93.

    It was great TV, i could not walkaway, i stay up in Tehran until 2 in the morning watching it. Especially enjoyed the Mahan / Casey game it had everything.
    Mr Faldo, needs to go to school for team mangement, prior to the start of the contest and during the contest i saw nothing of good team management. His selections seem to disregard current form. His lack of assistants as also showed in-experience in team mangement, no one can be everywhere at everytime, many of the team especially during the singles needed support or advice other than ollie i saw nobody.
    The people who selected Faldo must also take some responsiblity, golf is only a team game during limited times in players careers and Faldo, has never really showed team ethics during his overall career.

  • Comment number 94.

    Hey everyone get off Faldo's back!

    The blame for the ineptitude of the European team's performance is shared amongst many.

    It goes right right back to to the day the European PGA Ryder Cup Committee appointed him as captain in the first place.

    Poulter did a fantastic job; probably due to being fired up by the level of criticism of his selection. Great motivation technique?????

    As for the likes of Sergio, Padraig and Lee showing such poor form, (given succesful seasons by all), could it have been that the expectation that they should 'step up' as leaders, minus the presence of their 2 most recent inspirations, (Clarke and Monty), proved too much?

    They certainly didn't show what we've come to expect from them.

    As for Faldo, he's now complemented his record of being 3rd in the list of most Ryder Cup matches lost ,as a player, (19), by the worst defeat since Europe's first appearance in 1981.

    However, there is one consololation for European golf.......

    It's likely that this is the last time Faldo will ever have any envolvement of relevance in European golf.

    Good ridance.


  • Comment number 95.

    I have to say that the press' handling of Faldo is nothing short of disgraceful.

    This country is not the best at producing true world-dominating sportsmen like Tiger Woods, Ian Thorpe, Lance Armstrong and Ali. However when we DO the press just love to knock them off their pedistal; it doesn't make me angry it makes me very sad.

    The gutter press (this includes most of the broadsheets) took 100% pleasure in blaming Faldo for everything. Hindsight is great however there is only one thing I think he got wrong and that was taking Casey versus Clarke. Apart from that he has got out of his comfort zone and become a team player. This can't be easy for someone so single-minded enough to be a great champion in his chosen sport.

    I hope the powers that be give him the opportunity at home in 2 years to set the course up how he wants and enable him to sample captaining a side at home. Will they? Of course not, because the powers that be believe everything they read.

    Well done Europe and well done Faldo. It was a great defence, bring on Celtic Manor!

  • Comment number 96.

    Faldo's not the type of person to be a captain,i'am not surprised we were well beaten,if the manager/captain is not to blame then who is,they happily take the plaudits so must take the blame when we lose

  • Comment number 97.

    If Faldo is not and never has been a team player then why is he the record Ryder Cup points scorer?

    He seemed to be able to do it for the team when he was playing?

  • Comment number 98.

    I think sometimes in sport the role of people on the sidelines is overestimated and in defeat people look to criticise these people and find a scape goat. But

    However as I see it, the bare facts are that the standard of the golf on show from both sides was truly exceptional and perhaps the best seen at a Ryder Cup. In the end the US as a team played better at the crucial moments - they had the hotter putters this week.

    The role of the Ryder Cup captain is in my opinion slightly overplayed, particularly on foreign soil. Azinger was certainly able to have more influence on the evet - he had 4 picks instead of 2, he could dictate the schedule of the fourballs and foursomes, he could get the course prepared in the most advantageous way for his team's strengths and perhaps most importantly of all he could take on the responsibility of re-igniting interest in the competition on the other side of the pond. Clearly he achieved these things well.

    I don't think Faldo got anything particularly wrong. I think looking at the singles list he balanced out the stronger players in the singles top and bottom. He probably felt he needed players at the end who could cope with the pressure of playing for the Ryder Cup down the stretch. As Sam Torrance said yesterday it was clear if Europe were to win/retain it would go down to the final few groups. In the end it was just a case of Europe having to say "too good". The performances of the Americans in the singles was exceptional and there was not a lot Faldo or indeed Azinger could do to control/influence the fact that Kim was -8 for 14, Perry -7 for 16, Boo -8 for 16. That's just truly fantastic golf.

    Roll on Celtic Manor but lets not get too concerned about who it is captaining the sides.

  • Comment number 99.

    Great event - interesting that over here (in New Jersey) even Giants' fans were following the outcome of the Golf!!

  • Comment number 100.

    Having been at Valhalla for every practice day and every match day I don't think Faldo did much wrong.
    The only decision that I would challenge was not leading out with Poulter on Sunday.
    Harrington and Westwood were where they should have been, out of harms way at the back of the order.
    The only sour note for the whole week (I thought the US crowds were fantastic) was sounded by some disgraceful commentary on the BBC channel of the on-course radios during Sunday morning when they were unaware the entire course could hear them. You know who you are.

 

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